Royals Take Legal Action as More Topless Photos of Kate Middleton are Published

The royals mean business! The Palace is threatening to pursue a criminal case against the paparazzo who caught Kate with her top down

As yet another magazine publishes topless photos of Kate Middleton, Prince William is hoping his lawyers can put an end to the scandal. On Monday morning, Italian publication Chi released a 26-page photo spread of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless with William at a private French chateau. The pictures, snapped last week by a paparazzo named Valerie Suau, were first printed in the French magazine Closer and then appeared in the Irish Daily Star. There are reportedly as many as 200 photos in the set -- and the royal family is now taking extensive legal action to prevent more pictures from emerging.

In addition to filing civil lawsuits against the publications, the royal family intends to pursue a criminal case against the photographer responsible. (The criminal charge would be either breach of privacy or trespassing.) William's lawyers are also seeking an injunction to prevent any more photos from being published. By fighting the media in court, the Palace seeks to send a message that this kind of tabloid journalism will not be tolerated.

"The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so," a St. James's Palace rep said in a statement on Monday.

Princess Di's name is being mentioned for a reason: Chi is the same magazine that printed paparazzi photos of William's mother dying in a car crash in 1997. So far, the publication -- which is owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- is defending the photos as legitimate journalism.

"The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical," writes Chi's editor-in-chief in an accompanying editorial. "This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love."

Closer has also stood by its decision to publish the pictures. Only the publishers of the Daily Star have expressed regret for printing the photos -- but then, the others might change their tune after the royal family's lawsuits have been filed.

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are continuing their Diamond Jubilee Tour of Southeast Asia, paying a visit to the Solomon Islands this week. The scandal has put them in an awkward position, but the whole British royal family is on their side -- especially those who have been there, like Duchess Sarah Ferguson.

"I think everyone is entitled to privacy. Everyone is entitled to have protection of his or her inner space. And both of those have been violated," Ferguson told Life & Style.

In 1992, a few months after her separation from Prince Andrew, photographs of Ferguson sunbathing topless with another man caused an international tabloid scandal. "I've been there, and I have total empathy with the beautiful lady," said Fergie of Kate's tabloid troubles. "Surely she's allowed to be able to have a moment to be alone with her husband."

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

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